A Sonic Spectrum salute to AC/DC

Robert Moore’s Sonic Spectrum Tribute Series continues at RecordBar Sunday night, when the Architects, Federation of Horsepower, Faster Than Hell, and Mark Smeltzer all pay due respect to AC/DC. We asked Moore about his affection for the Aussie rock giants.

The Pitch: What is it about AC/DC that you’re drawn to? Is it a childhood nostalgia thing?

Moore: Nostalgia definitely plays a part. I saw AC/DC for the first time in 1978 on The Midnight Special TV show. They played “Sin City,” and I was blown away — nice straight-ahead rock and roll, great showmanship, the whole package. They started out as a blues-boogie band, heavily influenced by Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters, and other than losing their charismatic frontman, the band has stayed true to their sound over the years, never bowing to the trends of music. I respect that.

Is it all about Bon Scott for you? 

Well, Bon is where I started. He was the lead singer for me when I was a teenager. He had this amazing charisma but was also well-known for his toughness. He was the king of double-entendre lyrics. The band really has never been the same without him. I’m still a big fan of the band with Brian Johnson out front, but no one compares to Bon Scott.

What are some of your favorite AC/DC hits?

“Shot Down in Flames,” “Let There Be Rock,” “Whole Lotta Rosie,” “Girls Got Rhythm,” “Shoot to Thrill.” 

What about deep cuts?

“Overdose” from Let There Be Rock, “Cold Hearted Man” from the U.K. version of Powerage, demo version of “Get It Hot” from Bonfire box set, “Evil Walks” from For Those About to Rock

Talk about the bands on the bill.

Gregg Todt [of Federation of Horsepower] and I share a love for Aussie rock like AC/DC and Rose Tattoo. FOHP brings the rock. Drummer Adam Phillips of the Architects and I have talked about the solid drumming of AC/DC’s Phil Rudd for years, and the band has covered “Sin City” for quite a while. Faster Than Hell’s Kriss Ward sings with balls like Bon Scott — no brainer. And I wanted a different take on their music, and what better way than strip them down Americana style, with Mark Smeltzer.

Do you think the band gets its due, critically? 

People dismiss them as too simple, when it’s actually the opposite. It’s been interesting, putting the tribute together and talking with local musicians about the music of AC/DC. Many have commented how tough some of their songs are to play. There’s a lot more going on than people realize. 

Categories: Music